From theNew York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host comes a high-intensity debut thriller, the story of a smeared network journalist who uncovers a chilling terrorist plot
Jack Hatfield is a hardened former war correspondent who rose to national prominence for his insightful, provocative commentary. But after being smeared as a bigot and extremist by a radical leftist media-watchdog group, he ultimately loses his job and finds himself working in obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco.
One afternoon Hatfield is on a ride-along with the SFPD bomb squad when a seemingly routine carjacking turns deadly, after police find several pounds of military-grade explosives in the jacked car. And when the FBI urges Hatfield to stay out of it, he knows he's onto something big.
This event will open up a shadowy trail that leads Hatfield from San Francisco to Tel Aviv, London, Paris, and back again, as he works with a stunning Yemeni intelligence agent and a veteran Green Beret to expose a terrorist group known as the Hand of Allah---and a plot within the highest corridors of power that will dwarf 9/11.
In this lightning-paced first thriller, spanning the globe from Europe and Israel to the back alleys of San Francisco's Chinatown, a reporter must make the choice between protecting his own life and investigating a terrorist cell whose goal is nothing less than total political control---no matter what the cost.
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St. Martin's Press
September 12, 2011
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Abuse of Power by Michael Savage
San Francisco, California
"Pump two," Leon said. "See it?"
"I see it," Jamal Thomas replied.
It was just after sunset and the battered old Camry was parked down the block from the Arco station on Mission Street. Jamal squinted through the dirty windshield at a shiny gray Land Rover that had just pulled up to the pumps. The driver had climbed out and crossed to the minimart, wallet in hand. Arab, from the look of him. Not just the skin color but the arrogance, the strut. He reminded Jamal of the movies he'd seen on YouTube of blacks in the 1960s, flexing their new legal rights, amped up by the power of numbers, ready for payback after centuries of being second-class.
"Why that one?" Jamal asked. "Why not a Benz or a Beamer?"
Leon shot him a frown. "This ain't about the car. It's about--"
"I know what it's about," Jamal said. "But we might as well wait for a sweeter ride."
Leon shook his head. Jamal continued to look out the window.
What this was about was Jamal and Leon trying to get the rest of the Sawyer Street crew to take Jamal seriously. Jamal was almost seventeen and even his brother, who was just three years older, still treated him like a wannabe. He'd spent two years selling apple jacks at school, but that wasn't good enough for them. It was time to prove himself. Show them he had a pair that clanged.
Jamal's hand was resting on his waistband, where he'd tucked the gun. Leon had given him a Glock 9mm for his birthday the week before, a bronze-colored beauty that came in a shipment smuggled from Vietnam, part of the old Ku gunrunning network. The weapon felt solid against Jamal's belly--not the weight of it but the coiled power, the right it gave him to enforce his will on some rich boy or a chump who looked at him funny or a blonde he just wanted because he wanted that blonde.
"Like a terrorist, man," Jamal said softly.
"What are you talkin' about now?"
"I was just thinkin' about how those guys feel when they know somethin' big is going down while everybody else worries about their own shit. That's got to be some heavy power trip."
"Yeah, well, you only have to worry about that Land Rover and not some damn 9/11."
"I'm on that," Jamal said. "Just sayin'."
Jamal was getting excited. Leon was right, but if power was the lesson of jacking a random car, he was ready to learn it.
They watched the Arab pump his gas, then get in and start the engine. The swarthy man fussed with the side-view mirror, adjusting it this way and that, then grabbed the wheel and rolled toward the exit.
Leon popped his transmission into gear, glanced at Jamal. "You ready?"
Leon shifted his foot from the brake to the accelerator and eased after the Land Rover.
* * *
They followed the Rover straight to the Loin--the part of the city that had long ago given itself over to liquor stores and strip clubs, where anything and everything was bought and sold, twenty-four/seven.
Jamal wondered what a well-off Arab was doing down here. If he was looking for action, all he had to do was pick up the phone. He didn't have to cruise through wine country. Maybe he had holdings here, invested some of that oil money in hookers and crack dealers.
An' the government tells us businessmen are responsible for everything that's wrong, he thought.
"Next red light," Leon said.
Leon's voice was soft, steady. It pumped Jamal up, like the gun. He wanted to impress his brother, win his respect.
A few seconds later the car came to a stop at Eddy and Larkin. The red light burned like the devil's own eye, fueling Jamal's own sudden, intense focus on the moment, the gun, the target--
Leon's voice broke through the near-hypnotic state. Jamal didn't think. He pushed open the door and jumped out, ripping the Glock from his waistband as he went, holding it against the driver's window, shouting, "Out of the car!"
The light turned and Leon roared past them, the Camry's tires shedding rubber. The Arab looked at the gun in horrified disbelief. Jamal slammed the window with the heel of his other hand, angled the gun menacingly.
"I said out! Do it now or you're a dead man!"
The Arab popped the lock and opened the door. He seemed resigned to losing his car. Jamal stepped back to let him out. Cars were beginning to pile up behind them. Jamal turned slightly so they wouldn't have a good look at his face.
"Don't shoot!" the Arab pleaded. "Take the car but don't kill me!"
"Shut up!" Jamal snarled as he drew back his arm and pistol-whipped the Arab.
The man fell to the asphalt, his arms fluttering like bird wings, his white button-down shirt a coat of feathers. The Arab wasn't so tough now, Jamal thought, however much money he might have. The young man sighted the gun on the man's forehead, above his big, frightened eyes.
Jamal heard more horns as well as people shouting. He should have just shot him--no talk, no knock-down, no thinking. Now, too many people were watching. He heard a siren in the distance. Maybe it wasn't for him, or maybe someone had already called the cops--
Jamal looked up the road, saw the Camry had pulled into an empty space curbside. It was too far to run. And he didn't want to leave empty-handed.
Okay, you didn't kill the guy but you can bounce with the car. He could still score points by leading the cops to the Embarcadero and putting the Rover in the bay, or maybe driving it into the hot new lounge of the Phoenix Hotel--
Shoving the gun back in his waistband, Jamal jumped into the Rover, slammed the door, and stomped on the gas. He shot through the intersection, unaware that the light had changed back, clipping a Prius and spinning it ninety degrees. Jamal caromed off into a double-parked yellow panel job with the words WONDER BREAD painted across the side. He saw the R and the B grow large and then the world got very loud as the sound of the impact, the screech of twisting metal, and Jamal's own scream blended into a single roar. He felt himself flying against the windshield as the rear end of the Rover went airborne and the thing flipped.
Jamal threw his hands out, felt his arms go through the suddenly liquid glass, felt countless pinpricks as the shards raked his hands and face and scalp. It seemed to take forever for the Rover to crash to the ground and everything to go still. In the cottony quiet that followed, all Jamal could hear was his own strained, wheezing breath and the throbbing blood in his ears. He was lying on his back, half out of the Rover, his head resting on the blacktop. He was looking back toward the front seat, which was upside down. Peripherally, he could see people ducking, shifting, reaching into the tangled metal that shielded him from the outside world. He couldn't move his head, couldn't feel his body, so he continued to stare ahead.
There was blood in his right eye. It swirled the driver's side in a ruddy haze, but his left eye was clear. That was how he saw the strange object that had been upended and was resting on the roof. It consisted of four ... five ... six two-liter bottles full of liquid and tied to one another with duct tape. They were anchored to a pair of propane tanks with more tape. Wires were strung from one of the tanks to a cell phone taped to its side.
A bomb. It was a bomb.